The Roundup -

By Lois Kerr 

Grace Lutheran Church Of Skaar To Celebrate Centennial


On Sunday, July 10 the Grace Lutheran Church of Skaar will celebrate 100 years of providing spiritual guidance to the community. The congregation invites people to attend this celebration and to recall what the church has meant to the community through the years.

“I’ve been attending this church since I was ten years old,” says Elizabeth Hatter, church member. “I was baptized in this church, and my husband, our children, our grandchildren, and great grandchildren were baptized in this church and confirmed here. To me, our small congregation is like family and going to church here is like coming home.” The church, originally called Scandia Lutheran, organized in 1911 as part of the Norwegian Lutheran Church of America. The first pastor commuted to the Skaar area on Sundays from Beach, with the first services held in various parishioners’ homes, as there was no official church building. Later the local school also served as a church. In 1926, the Skaar parishioners joined with the Lutheran Church in Savage to share a pastor, William S. Madson. Pastor Madson floated across the Yellowstone River near Crane each Sunday morning, and a parishioner on the east side of the river then picked him up and escorted him to the church for services.

“We’ve always shared a pastor with Savage,” Hatter comments. “There was a two-year period before the arrival of our present pastor when we had no one, so we used lay speakers and guest speakers to conduct services.”

In 1934, Skaar residents moved the present church building from the Blue Mountain community to its current site. Congregants met for worship for the first time in the newly moved church in December 1934.

In 1961, the church membership changed the name of the church to Grace Lutheran. Throughout its existence, the church has served the community. In spite of the fact that the church has no indoor plumbing or water on site, the church hosted many activities, including a two-week Bible camp each summer. “The church has never had water,” Hatter comments. “We used to haul water when the church was more active; we hauled water for drinking and for doing dishes.”

She continues, “We used to hold a two-week vacation Bible school each summer and the kids would stay there for the whole two weeks, just like camp. People brought water in jugs and cans for the entire two weeks, and they worked hard to provide church activities for members.”

In earlier years, church members held fundraising activities to keep the church running. “We use to hold monthly Ladies Aid meetings and used this opportunity to raise money to keep the church going,” Hatter remarks. “We held bake sales, roast beef dinners, pancake supper, we had bazaars and this year we held a bazaar with music.”

The congregation has dwindled in recent years but church spirit remains alive. Members hold services at Grace Lutheran every second and fourth Sunday of each month. In winter, services are held at the Squaw Gap Hall. “The furnace isn’t good, so we don’t use the church in winter,” Hatter says. “We met at Squaw Gap Hall during the winter. In summer we meet at the church for services every second and fourth Sunday. Every second Sunday of the month we hold services at 11 a.m. and have a potluck dinner afterwards. Every fourth Sunday of the month we hold services at 8:30 a.m.

Hatter looks forward to the Centennial celebration on July 10 and invites people to attend. “I’m excited that we are 100 years old,” she says. “We’ve kept the church nice and we’ve made repairs on it. We just put new paneling and it looks very attractive. People have worked hard to keep this church nice.”

The 100th anniversary celebration of Grace Lutheran in Skaar will be held Sunday, July 10. Worship service begins at 11 a.m. at the church, followed by a potluck dinner and program at Squaw Gap Hall.

“Plan to attend an enjoyable afternoon visiting with old friends and family, eating good food, and listening to music,” Hatter concludes.


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